The Indians got on the board early in this one, touching Kyle Gibson for three runs in the first and three more in the third. Gibson couldn't get through three innings, creating a perfect mirror of Cody Anderson's last start against the Twins, and it was more of a deficit than Minnesota could overcome.
Jason Kipnis led off the game with a home run, his ninth of the season. It was an auspicious start. Lonnie Chisenall brought home two more runs later in the inning. Carlos Santana was the third batter of the third inning, and hit a three-run homer to make it 6-0 without an out recorded. Paul Molitor would let Gibson stay out there for a bit longer, but after putting two more runners on with two away Gibson was lifted for Brian Duensing.
Duensing, for what it's worth, gave the Twins two innings of scoreless baseball. He, along with Blaine Boyer, Ryan O'Rourke, Michael Tonkin, Neal Cotts, and J.R. Graham combined for 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball. That's a silver lining.
Minnesota did get some runs in the late going. Torii Hunter hit his 22nd homer of the season with one away in the seventh. Eddie Rosario hit a two-run shot, his 12th of the year, in the eighth. An attempt to force a spark early came to nothing, when Joe Mauer lifted a fly ball to the outfield but Aaron Hicks was thrown out at the plate.
The only other highlight worth mentioning for the Twins is that Joe Mauer took a walk in the eighth inning, and has now reached based in a franchise-record 43 consecutive games. That's an impressive run, especially for a guy who is having one of the worst seasons of his career. He's hitting .275/.371/.400 in that stretch. which isn't great but certainly far better that his season line.
Thursday night's loss drops the Twins to 1.5 games behind the Astros and into a tie with the Angels. Minnesota now hits the road for seven games, with three in Detroit followed by four in Cleveland before finishing the year with three at Target Field versus the now AL Central champions Kansas City Royals.